Monday, July 9, 2007

Swimsuits & Self Condemnation

Last Friday I decided it was time to buy a new swimsuit. So courageously I headed to the department store, found a parking spot far enough away from the store for a good walk (maybe that little walk would tone my legs a bit more), wandered past the Junior section (no longer a Jr.) and found the swimsuits - yes, all of them, even the Jr. sizes. After a brief period of browshing I gathered as many suits as I could. Suits that I thought were cute & just might fit me and look ok on this 42 year old body, and headed to the dreaded dressing room. Yes, the dressing room. That small little room, with the door that doesn't quite latch the way I would like - after all, I will be quite vulnerable trying on a swimsuit. I am setting myself up to really tear myself a apart. The horrible fluorescent lighting that doesn't hide any flaws, the 3 way mirrors - oh the agony! Of course I could not find one suit that made me look like a swimsuit model - I really thought the pink suit would transform me! HA! Depressed, I handed the sales girl the suits and walked directly for the exit door. As the days went on I was beating myself up thinking "why haven't I done more crunches, why aren't I riding more miles on my bike, why, why, why.... I started to think about how hard we are on ourselves as woman, how we just beat ourselves up over our diet, our bodies, our choices and decisions in life etc. There's nothing like trying on a swimsuit to conjure up feelings of self hatred and loathing. I recalled a post on Beth Moore's blog (obviously my favorite) and I wanted to include it on my blog for you gals out there who are just as hard on yourselves at times as I am.

The Self Condemnation of a Red Bird - Posted by Beth Moore - May 16, 2007 on the Living Proof Blog

" I just have a second but I can't get something off my mind so I decided to log on and throw it up here. I've told you before that I really dig birds. I keep lots of feeders and feel really co-dependent when I'm out of town and can't fill them up. As ridiculous as it sounds, they bring me untold joy. One of my birds, however, is having a serious issue. I think it's mental - and I can certainly relate - but it's manifesting itself in all manner of outward expressions. I've been home plenty lately so it's not my fault...I don't think. But it may be my responsibility. I'm too co-dependent to know for sure. Here's the scene: This lone female red bird keeps attacking the mirrors on both sides of my car. She wildly flaps her wings, chatters madly, and runs into one mirror repeatedly then flies to the other side of the car and gives it an equal piece of her mind. Like she's got anything left. She makes such a racket that I can hear her all the way in the kitchen and I just stand there in total astonishment, looking out the window onto the driveway. I, then, proceed outside and try to talk some sense into her. No matter how close I get, she never lets up. She just keeps attacking her own self. Only she doesn't realize it's her. She's got such a beef with the red bird in the mirror that she has nearly pecked her blessed little beak into a nub. Clearly, the whole ordeal has her stomach upset. I've had to hose down the car on both sides. I keep trying to tell her, "It's you! It's only you in the mirror! Let up, Girlfriend!" For lack of a better solution, we now have old kitchen towels draped over the mirrors which upsets me since some of my neighbors think we're crazy religious freaks as it is. Now they'll think we're vampires to boot. I think the problem could be hormones. Hers. Not mine. I'm not sure if birds have hormonal issues but I know that girls do and she is clearly a girl. (In case you aren't up on your basic ornithology, you can tell by the color.) It really doesn't matter what age she is. All it takes to have to have hormone problems is to be the right gender. She and I could start a support group. I feel sorry for her and I hate to see her go on this way. After all, I know how she feels. I've been pecking at myself a lot lately. I always have had the tendency to self-peck. I recall one time clearly but silently in my own mind saying to God, "You hate me." Absurd, I know. And after all He'd done for me. The chilling part was that I sensed an unexpected clear response come right back at me in my mind. "No, Beth. You hate yourself." Dang it. And it's sin. Self loathing is sin. It's just another form of self-absorption. Maybe you've got some anger issues like that bird and maybe the person you're maddest at it you. Maybe regret over a decision you made years ago or a path you took a long time ago is still eating you alive. Maybe you've nearly self-pecked your beak into a nub. Maybe, truth be told, you've been thinking that God hates you, despite all He's done, but today He's opening your eyes to the fact that it's you who hates yourself. And it's got to stop. Nothing about it honors God. Your God loves you with an everlasting love. A love that heals and restores and takes a disfigured soul one day at a time, treats it with Truth, and makes it whole. A love that breaks old patterns and paves new pathways and not just for you. For a lot of people who are walking behind you. But you have to let that love in. You have to believe God feels it for you just like He says He does. You've got to be convinced of it to the marrow of your bones. What more could He do to tell you? What more could He do to show you? Choose to accept it. Embrace it. Wallow yourself in it. "This then is how we know that we belong to the truth, and how we set our hearts at rest in His presence whenever our hearts condemn us. For God is greater than our hearts, and He knows everything." 1 John 3:19,20"

Dear sisters... I hope Beth's words speak to you as they did me. You are loved by God, even on the days when you try on swimsuits!


Shelly said...

I was thinking about that very post the other day for myself as well!

May you (and all of us) learn to see ourselves as He does. Then I bet that pink swimsuit would look good :)

ang baylis said...

Hi... thanks for your comment! Wow...Frankenmuth... it's such a small world!

I loved Beth's post, too! She is so real and has a way of explaining things that are so easy to understand! She has made me excited to get into the word and I LOVE it!!!

I've had self-esteem issues forever!! And, I agree that we are most critical of ourselves, but I never really thought of it as sin! I do now!!! We are so blessed that God does not notice our less than perfect bodies!!!
He is SO amazing!

Love from another siesta!
- Angie